The Globe’s Robert MacLeod curates the best of sports on the web Monday to Friday
The early returns from the first two weeks of regular season play in the National Football League are in and it shows that the passing game is back in vogue.
It is something that fans of the Canadian Football League have known for ages and, in the NFL, the 400-yard passing game is no longer the special achievement it once was.
Pass-happy quarterbacks Aaron Rogers, Philip Rivers and Michael Vick all threw for more than 400 yards and no interceptions on the same day for the first time in league history.
Already this year in the NFL there have been five 400-yard passing games (with no interceptions) through the first two weeks of play, one shy of the record established over the course of a full season.
In Green Bay’s impressive 38-20 victory over the troubled Washington Redskins, Aaron Rogers enjoyed a record-setting day, completing 34 of 42 passes for a career-high 480 yards and four touchdowns.
And as Mike Vandermause writes in the Green Bay Press Gazette, Rogers’ heroics are even more impressive when you consider he endured a pre-game chiropractic adjustment to help alleviate neck stiffness.
As for the Redskins, this is a start to a season that can only make their fans shudder, as Thomas Boswell notes in the Washington Post.
In the San Diego Chargers’ 33-30 triumph over the Philadelphia Eagles, Phillip Rivers was on the mark, completing 36 of 47 passes for 419 yards.
Writing for the San Diego Union-Tribune, Kevin Acee notes that it is the first time since 2009 that Rivers has engineered a winning drive in the fourth quarter.
Vick also enjoyed a great afternoon for the Eagles, but in a losing effort, tossing for 428 yards and two touchdowns.
Frank Fitzpatrick, writing for the Philadelphia Inquirer, said that the league’s new stringent rules concerning concussions may have hampered the Eagles’ chances as Vick was ordered to the sidelines during a pivotal moment late in the fourth quarter after absorbing a crunching hit.
And it is tough to beat this for a lack of respect.
The 0-2 Jacksonville Jaguars have become so irrelevant in their own home market that the TV network is apologizing for putting them on the air.
Red Sox rough up Yankees
As tough as this might be to swallow for supporters of the Toronto Blue Jays, it appears certain that the Boston Red Sox are headed for the post-season with former Jays’ manager John Farrell leading the charge.
The Red Sox defeated the New York Yankees 9-2 at Fenway to earn a three-game sweep over their arch rival.
In the process, the Red Sox lowered their magic number for a division title to four.
The loss dashed New York’s hopes of finishing first for the third year in a row and for the 14th time in the last 18 seasons and the Yankees slender post-season hopes now rest on securing a wildcard berth.
The game also likely marked the final appearance at Fenway for Mariano Rivera, New York’s fine reliever who is retiring at the end of the season.
As the Yankees were taking their final swings, Rivera took the opportunity to scribble a farewell note on the bullpen wall.
In Pittsburgh, newly-acquired Justin Morneau came off the bench to drive in his first run with his new team, a single in the eighth inning that lifted the Pirates to a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
With the win the Pirates remain tied atop the National League Central with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Step aside Sadaharu Oh, Tuffy Rhodes and Alex Cabrera. Japanese baseball has a new home run hitting king.
Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com writes how Wladimir Balentien, a journeyman Major League Baseball player, had to travel 5,000 miles in order to put his stamp on the game playing for Tokyo’s Yakult Swallows.
Same old, same old in the NHL
It didn’t take long for the ugliness to begin in the National Hockey League.
Rostislav Klesla, a defenceman with the Phoenix Coyotes, was the recipient of a dubious open-ice hit from Jordan Nolan of the Los Angeles Kings in the first period of their exhibition game.
Various reports indicate that Nolan made first contact with Klesla’s head and the Phoenix player was immobilized on the ice and then taken off on a stretcher to hospital for further observations.
A good sign was that Klesla raised his hand in a wave to the crowd as he was being taken off.